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Mara Isaacs

Mara Isaacs is a creative producer and the founder and director of Octopus Theatricals, a theatrical producing and consulting company. For eighteen seasons, Mara produced McCarter Theater’s series and play development programs including numerous commissions and productions of new plays and musicals (by Christopher Durang, Edward Albee, Athol Fugard, Regina Taylor, Nilo Cruz, and others). Current projects include the new musical Sleeping Beauty Wakes by Rachel Sheinkin, Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda;  Global Crossings (working title), an international collaboration with U.S., Israeli, Palestinian and South African artists); and Memory Rings by Phantom Limb Company. Mara has twice been selected as a Mentor with the TCG New Generations Program and teaches courses in creative producing, international theater and musical theater development for Princeton University. 

Mara founded Octopus Theatricals in 2013 to foster an expansive range of compelling theatrical works for local, national and international audiences. Current projects include Hadestown by Anaïs MitchellTheatre For One; Falling Out by Phantom Limb Company; Minefield by Lola Arias; An Iliad by Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson; Haruki Murakami’s Sleep, Poland’s legendary Song of the Goat TheatreandProject Springboard: Developing Dance Musicals. Recognized as a field leader in new play and new musical development, Mara has produced over one hundred fifty productions that have been seen on Broadway (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Translations, Anna in the Tropics, Electra), off-Broadway (Hadestown, Fiasco Theater’s Into The Woods, The Brother/Sister PlaysMiss WitherspoonCrowns, The Laramie Project), at theaters and performing arts centers around the country and internationally (UK, Europe, Middle East, South America, South Africa, Canada).Plays she has developed and produced have gone on to receive assorted Tony, Obie, Drama Desk, Drama League, Lucile Lortel, New York Drama Critics and Outer Critics Circle Awards, and have appeared a total of twelve times on American Theatre Magazine’s annual “Top 10 List of Most Frequently Produced Plays.” She was Producing Director at McCarter Theater Center in Princeton, NJ and previously produced new play development programs and productions for Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.She is currently visiting faculty for CalArts School of Theatre and for Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts. 

An actor and a puppet on stage
What Do I Want This Next Decade to Be?
Essay

What Do I Want This Next Decade to Be?

Kim Whitener and Mara Isaacs in conversation

4 November 2018

Kim Whitener, the former executive director of HERE, and theatre producer and consultant Mara Isaacs sit down to talk about moving from institutions to the freelance world (and vice versa), the generosity of other theatre creators, work-life balance, and more.

From Local to Global
Essay

From Local to Global

A Paradigm Shift

6 October 2013

Mara Isaacs sheds light on the dynamics placed upon New Jersey's theatre scene and explains how she was able to move forward and create a new model of theatre-making.